Copyright 2004 Richard Grady
When dealing with people/businesses on the Internet, it will benefit you to remember the following tips. They are all based on my own experiences but I am sure they apply to every online business:
1. When replying to emails, include a copy of any previous emails, don't just send a new one. I can receive 50 emails a day that need a reply and I simply cannot remember every single 'conversation' with every single person.
2. If you have a problem/complaint, then of course, email for assistance. But be polite - don't start off with an abusive email (you can send that later on if you don't get the help you require!).
3. Simple words like 'please' and 'thank-you' take a second to type and mean so much. If you want someone to give you free advice, then use these words - you are more likely to get what you want.
4. If someone takes the time to give you free advice, then take the time to thank them. I get emails everyday asking for assistance on all manner of topics - selling on eBay, buying from wholesalers, setting up a website etc. I don't get paid for giving my advice and it is amazing how many people can't even be bothered to say 'thank-you' after I have helped them.
5. Allow 24 hours for a response to your email before sending a second one chasing a reply. Not every business has 24 hour email support. For example, I reply to most emails within 2 hours but I do have to sleep and sometimes I even turn my PC off for a few hours!
6. Remember that the email system is not 100% reliable - sometimes emails just don't make it to the recipient. If someone says 'I didn't receive your email', they may well be telling the truth, so give them a second chance before losing your cool.
7. And finally, if your enquiry relates to a particular product always include details of which product you are referring to. For example, I sell over 20 different digital products from 7 websites but regularly get emails that simply state 'I have paid for my eBook but didn't get it'. Which eBook? How did you pay? What is your name? When did you buy it? What email address did you use when you made the purchase? C'mon, gimme a clue!
If you run a web business, I am sure the above points will hit home. If you don't run a web business, please bear them in mind for when you are dealing with someone that does :-)